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Outdoor Groups

Outdoor Groups

I will never forget witnessing a profound moment of connection around the fire in one of my outdoor groups. Most women gathered in this group claimed at the beginning that they felt safer in nature than with people and lived lives of isolation. In the safety of nature, these women slowly started to connect with each other over the weeks. On the last night, around the fire, a woman shared a personal struggle and shed some tears. In response, another woman offered a hug, and both stood in embrace as the rest of us fell quiet as we witnessed this genuine connection that felt impossible for the women just weeks earlier.

This is exactly why I started groups….

Why Outdoor Groups?

I have a unique opportunity as a therapist to hear many individual’s inner thoughts and feelings. In my years of sitting across from people in pain, I began to hear common themes in their suffering and beliefs about themselves. So often, I hear people exclaiming, ‘I must be the only one who feels this or thinks this.’ Instantly, images of other people sitting on the exact couch saying the same thing would come to mind.

Yet, each individual sits alone on that couch and has no idea all the other people that have also sat on the couch and shared their pain.

I started bringing people’s attention to the garbage pail of used Kleenex beside them to show they weren’t the only one. I started calling the garbage pail the sacred pail of tears that links each person who comes into my office; a reminder that you are not along in your tears.

Even though this sacred pail helped, it still did not offer an experience of connection. I began to realize individual therapy has its place, yet also has the potential to continue the experience of isolation and disconnection. In fact, it can follow the model of industrial society that pushes independence, analysis, fix-it mentality and success.

I was quick to realize that is not what I want to promote as it is my vision to foster an experience of interconnectedness that promotes curiousity instead of analysis. I want to invite a curiousity around acceptance and healing instead of fixing, as you are not broken. And, instead of striving for success, I invite an unfolding into trusting you are enough.

As I shared in my story, I also had been spending a lot of time building my connection to the natural world and experiencing immense peace and wonder as I explored the natural world. Not only did the nature connection increase my mood and ability to stay in the moment, I also learned about the intricate ecosystem that relies on every living being. From worms to the trees, each play a significant role, and I started to realize my place within that ecosystem and found a deep sense of belonging.

I knew I had to take therapy outside the four walls and into a group experience within the natural world so you can have an opportunity for deeper healing and connection.

The Outdoor Group Experience

I now offer seasonal outdoor groups that gather men and women together in community to explore, discover and share together. These groups have included many nature connection activities like mindful walking in the forest, getting our feet wet in the creek, planting trees and sharing our experiences around a fire.

I continually am amazed what can happen when we are surrounded by the natural world with a safe group of people. Nature becomes the teacher and opens us up to new levels of connection that supports us to let go of old fears and beliefs and enter into deeper authentic relationship to self, others, and the natural world.

Past participants have reflected that participating in an outdoor group on top of individual therapy, was a vital part to their healing journey as they could practice what they were learning in individual therapy within a safe group atmosphere.

Upcoming Groups

 

Sense into Summer Solstice

 

Winter Solstice Retreat

 

 

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5420 Highway 6 N Suite 121
Guelph, ON N1H 6J2

angela@embodiedhealing.ca

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